Endangered List: Help Wanted and New Job Listings

21 Jun

Looked at the classified ads lately?

It will show you that the official reports being released about an economic rebound are less accurate than a manufacturer’s glowing description of a sub-standard product.

It’s an endangered species, those “help wanted” and “new job listings” columns in the classified section.  You’ll find plenty of used items for sale, notices of “moving” sales, yard sales, home sales, etc. but jobs?  There are more likely to be dubious “work at home” and “sales opportunity” ads  than advertisements for any real jobs.  Even the simplest of entry level jobs will have ten or more applicants for a single position.  Employers rarely need to advertise a position or list it with the state employment agency–they have a fat file of applicants that were willing to invest their time filling out an application for a job that didn’t exist…in hopes of a future opening.

There are more homeless than ever before, but they aren’t the homeless alcoholics, drug addicts, drifters, and former psychiatric patients that are the stereotypical homeless.  This is a more invisible kind of homelessness, as families that were formerly middle class are left with no jobs and no homes, living with friends or family, drifting through temporary housing situations, etc. as they try to stay out of the radar of “homelessness” that will send up red flags that make life even more difficult and prevent jobs from being found at all.  Adult children living with their aging parents, bringing along their own children, as they struggle to figure out how to cope in a world where jobs aren’t there, unemployment is running out, and food stamps don’t have the answers either.

Something has to happen, because in the coming year, more people are going to lose what little income they have, whether or not there is a job to replace it.  What then?

It isn’t a simple answer either.  Those same unemployed people who either have or are in danger of losing their homes are also not paying taxes or social security.  Governments are losing their tax base even as more demands are being put on them to help with the homeless, jobless, insurance-less, and food-less population.

Prices are rising too.  The price of fuel has been steadily increasing, taking a skyhop for a while, then dropping a bit…without ever coming down to its previous levels.  Grocery store prices are rising too.  Prices of other goods goes up.  In the meantime, few have seen an increase in their income, and nearly all have seen their income stagnate or drop.

Who is going to save America?

Small businesses are struggling, corporations don’t seem to have much concern about anything but their bottom line, and the government seems to have grown into a monster that prefers terrorizing its citizens rather than listening to their cries for help.  There is no “Big Daddy” that’s going to come and administer discipline, provide aid, and promote industry.  Education, once the answer, is now out of reach of the majority of the population beyond the publicly mandated levels.  There isn’t even any subsidy to help those kids who reach 18 but are still in high school to finish school without parental assistance, let alone go to any kind of technical or secondary school, no matter how dedicated they are.  If you are 18 and your parents turn you out, or you were a ward of the state…your only option is joining the military.  Guess you better be in good physical health.

The scenario doesn’t improve much with age, especially if you are over age 50 and unemployed.  No one wants to hire this age group, perceiving them as being “over qualified” or “apt to get sick” or “near retiring” or “old fashioned.”  There are a hundred and one excuses in a society that is in love with the illusion of youth…because most people these days need to work until age 68 or older, unless they have a fat retirement fund they’ve saved on their own.

Our industrial jobs are gone, outsourced to countries like China, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and other countries with lower wages and standards.  There, the factories don’t have to meet clean air standards, treat their employees well, or even pay a fair wage often.  Corporations enjoy fatter profits, and sell the goods to Americans who accept poor quality in the name of low price all too often.

Even call centers for customer service, technical support, etc. are now outsourced to countries like Malaysia, India, Eastern Europe, etc. where they hire English speaking residents far cheaper than they can hire Americans, even while they are providing services to Americans who pay with American money.   Once again, it’s done in the name of profit, and Americans are accepting sub-standard customer service for that great “low price”.  How many times have you had to wait on hold only to speak to someone who has an accent so thick that you could barely understand them…only to get hung up on because you challenged their “solution” to your problem?  It’s a common joke among my friends that a certain software company with a very familiar name in the United States must have a rule with its customer service representatives in India…”If you are ever wrong, and admit it, we will fire you.”  Their solution to being potentially wrong is to just hang up, therefore avoiding the problem, at least on their end.

American consumers are letting corporations do this to them, with a double hit on the economy, by not insisting on customer support being provided by call centers located in the United States.  Not only are the jobs gone from the USA, but American dollars are being pumped into these foreign countries at incredible rates, further extracting money from flowing through the USA.

It seems our only export anymore is jobs.  Our imports?  Almost everything from customer service to products.

One example is a story that I personally experienced.  After hearing so many negative comments about “cheap Chinese bicycles” I decided to look at which bicycles were American made.  It seems that we had a LOT of different brands that were American up until the 1980s, with the number dwindling steadily since then.  The amazing thing is that while there were LOTS of companies in the USA manufacturing bicycles in the middle of the 20th century, do you know how many manufacture bicycles in typical mass production facilities today?


Not one is left.  All of them were forced to move their production to China or other foreign countries, mostly because of the need to cut costs and stay competitive in the market.  Those expensive bike shop brands, or the cheap discount mart brand…all of them come from China.  Granted, if you buy an American made bicycle today, you will get the finest quality, but it won’t be a mass produced factory product.  It will be hand made as a custom order, just as much personal attention as the Wright Brothers gave to their bicycles way back when, although there will be more power equipment and high tech products used to make it.  Even on that hand made bicycle, there will be a number of imported products put on it before its finished, simply because they are not made in the USA at all.  By anyone.

That American made bicycle was going to cost me a very pretty penny, probably more than the used mini van I bought several years ago.  For casual riding, I absolutely cannot justify spending that kind of money, American made or not, whether I had it to spend or not.

Wake up, America.  Smell the coffee, before its too late.

Something has to change, and it better change very quickly or we might not like the results very much.  Maybe that “End-of-the-World” stuff for December 21, 2012 isn’t about the world  as in the planet ending, but rather more about an end to our current society and way of life.

We can’t continue down this road or there will be social unrest the likes of which we have never seen in this country, as the majority of people are jobless, homeless, and hopeless…and have nothing to lose anymore.

I’ve read comments on stories and blogs from untold numbers of people who calmly state that when it gets to that point they intend to commit suicide…which is bad enough, but what about the ones who decide that suicide isn’t the answer, but going out in a blaze of glory is more their style?

I’m not an economist, I have no idea what the fix is, all I can see is looming disaster as this problem grows like a form of cancer.  Just like any other patient with cancer, I look elsewhere for the answers, and I’m not seeing any.  The majority of people no longer trust our government or corporations, we don’t trust the media, and often we’re being told to not trust our neighbor either.  We hear stories of how Janet Napolitano has been telling the media, etc. how people should report anything unusual to Walmart (This doesn’t make sense to me, but I haven’t dug to the bottom of THAT story) and we have a growing distrust of the Patriot Act, stories of FEMA mass concentration camps designed to inter people for some unknown reason…the list of conspiracies goes on, creating even more distrust and suspicion.  Do we report our weird neighbor, or find out if he might be an asset if the “G-men” come to take us away?  Do we stockpile ammunition and food…or pay our bills?

As Americans, we need a game plan, to know what our goals as a country are, and a plan on how to get there that makes sense.  We don’t need more wars to siphon even more money out of the country and into foreign pockets.  We need jobs and industry again, we need to find a way to provide adequate housing that people can afford and pay the bills on, we need alternative energy that is affordable and clean, we need…real change, not political rhetorical change.

I don’t care who is in office, what racial background they have, or who their great-granddaddy was.  I’m not thrilled with Obama, but I’m certainly not seeing any sign of any candidate that presents better chances of real change either.  I’m disgusted with both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  I’m horrified by the long list of alphabet soup agencies that seem to promote governmental waste and red tape, while not providing any sign of economic recovery.  I’m equally disgusted with the amount of money that was wasted in the name of recovery, and did nothing more than line corporate pockets, without ever trickling down to jobs or any other benefit of the common man.  I think our current system of taxation provides too many with loopholes and unfairly taxes the remainder.  Our current health care system sucks, and the new Obamacare isn’t any better.

The change we need to see is in the form of jobs.  We need to figure out what products we can market to the world and create a better trade balance than we have now, and it doesn’t matter if its bicycles, computers, medical supplies, tourism, or educations…but we have to find it, develop it, and start marketing it pretty quickly or it will be too late.  Maybe we need the WPA to be re-created and put a mass transit system of trains that is comparable to the European system, enabling us to move people and goods inexpensively and efficiently around the country.  There was a lot of talk a while back about a fast transit system using trains for high speed travel.  We can’t even use trains for reasonable speed travel currently–it’s too expensive and too limited in scope.  An efficient train system would go a long ways towards real change, and if crazy man Hitler could manage it in Germany…surely Obama, the man of Change, can master such a concept in modern America!  (Have you checked into using the train for a vacation?  Your entire vacation, both time and money,  would be spent on the train!)  Another national project to put people to work could be a national bike trail system, allowing people to use cheap and clean bicycle transit to cross the country from one end to another, promoting exercise and clean transport in one single job-creating project!  America could use workers to increase the current national park and forest system, building campgrounds that can do dual duty as potential locations for refugees from national disasters such as fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, and by scattering them across the country, there would always be facilities available that could be converted to housing refugees temporarily.  We’d also have nicer parks available for recreational use during the majority of the time when the facilities are not needed for refugees.  There are thousands of potential projects for an agency like the WPA of old, and the many unemployed would find jobs that would allow them to send money to their families and save to improve their own futures.  Most of all, a project like that would provide a tangible form of change and hope, and create an environment more conducive to the creation of the small businesses that are the backbone of the American economy.


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